Epeolatry Sunday: Syzygy, the X-Files, and a dash of righteous feminsim

Well, it’s a day late, but still Epeolatry Sunday is in its third week running – it’s a honest-to-God miracle!

Syzygy: (n) either 1) an alignment or opposition, particularily of the moon to the sun, or 2) two connected or corresponding things (not necessarily astral).


Image via the appropriately named scifiladynerds.net

Up until recently, I thought syzygy was just the name of an X-Files episode involving, among other things, Scully being even sassier than usual. Apparently, no, it actually had some bearing on the episode’s plot too. Who knew! However, it also got me thinking about the X-Files in general, many of which I recently re-watched in preparation for the much anticipated (and predictably unfortunate) 10th season that came out this past January.

With my ever-impeccable sense of timing, I first started watching the X-Files just as the series ended. I was 13 and the finer points of misogyny, rape culture, and rape apologising still eluded me. Fast forward 15 years to my roommates and I watching what used to a favourite episode and realising that, actually, the whole plot centred on absolving a rapist of all wrong-doing. Said rapist is a modern take on Frankenstein’s monster, a 1990s test-tube human with a penchant for Cher. His mutated face keeps him from being accepted by wider society so his adoptive father – out of his love for his son and total disregard for the autonomy of women everywhere – helps him to drug and rape women in their own homes while they sleep – all to a soundtrack of Cher songs, naturally. When it comes out that this “monster” is actually a well-spoken and lovable underdog who is simply misunderstood because of his looks, the show quickly sweeps aside all allusions to rape and explains that, well, the women he drugged and then impregnated had been wanting babies anyway and now everyone is happy, so it’s all okay, right?

In the ever-on-point words of Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Cool motive. Still murder.

This was going to be a much longer post about rape culture and the X-Files, because unfortunately that episode was not alone in its treatment of sexual assault, but, in the end, all I really want to say is that I hope one day we’ll all have learned enough that no 13-year-old girl will ever watch that episode again and think: Yeah, that makes sense. For sure that’s an okay way to treat another human being. Because it really isn’t, and it never has been, and it never will be.





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